PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March, 13, 2013) – The Rutgers softball team will compete in Clearwater, Fla., from Friday, March 15 – Sunday, March 17, as part of the squad’s fourth consecutive year at the Tournament at Clearwater, hosted by USF. The Scarlet Knights (7-8) enter their final preconference tournament one game below .500, as RU will spend the following weekend in the Sunshine State to open BIG EAST play.
RU opens competition at the Tournament at Clearwater with a doubleheader on Friday, March 15, playing Oklahoma State (4 p.m.) and Boston University (6:15 p.m.). The Scarlet Knights compete in another doubleheader Saturday, when the squad takes on Maine (1:15 p.m.) and Iowa State (4 p.m.). RU closes its stint in Clearwater on Sunday, March 17, with a doubleheader against Boston College (9:30 a.m.) and Florida A&M (11:45 a.m.).
The Scarlet Knights enter the tournament after dropping four of five contests at the Mustang Classic in San Luis Obispo, Calif. RU lost by a combined five runs in three of the four losses, as Nevada took the Scarlet Knights into their first extra inning action of the season before taking a 2-1 win.
RU is 7-10 over the past three seasons when playing in Clearwater, Fla.
Oklahoma State (13-12), RU’s first opponent of the weekend, is surrendering just 2.48 runs per game this season, and is the only team heading into the tournament with a winning record. OSU caught fire at the Mizuno Classic, winning seven in a row while allowing just eight runs in that span. Tarah Ettinger leads the Cowgirls in nearly every statistical hitting category, including batting average (.389), hits (28), home runs (five), RBIs (18), total bases (46) and slugging percentage (.639).
Boston University (6-10) enters after dropping a 1-0 decision to USF on Wednesday, as an RBI double in the second inning – one of only three hits by the Bulls – proved to be the difference in the contest. BU’s Whitney Tuthill recorded a complete game in the loss, allowing just hits while walking two. Three Terriers boast batting averages above .300, with Amy Ekhart leading the squad with eight RBIs.
The Scarlet Knights square off with Iowa State (9-9) for the second time this season in Clearwater, as RU dropped a 3-2 decision to the Cyclones in its second game of the season at the UTSA Classic. Tori Torrescano, who went 2-3 in that contest, leads the Cyclones with six home runs and is second on the team with 17 RBIs. Erica Miller has proven the most lethal bat in the ISU lineup, entering play this weekend with a .434 batting average and 21 RBIs.
Maine (1-22) heads to Clearwater after dropping 21-straight contests. The Black Bears nearly topped Florida Gulf Coast on the road in their last time out, but could not recover from a 3-1 deficit to take the victory. Jessica Burk paces Maine with a .296 batting average and four doubles. The sophomore is also second on the team with seven RBIs.
Boston College (4-11) marks the third New England-area school RU will face in Clearwater. The Golden Eagles enter the tourney on a nine-game skid, falling in three consecutive games to No. 24/24 North Carolina. Andrea Filler leads BC with a .382 batting average and 10 RBIs, and is one of four Golden Eagles with batting averages above .300 this season.
Florida A&M (4-18) marks the final opponent of the weekend for RU, and the only one hailing from the Sunshine State. The Rattlers dropped six straight games prior to the Tournament at Clearwater, last winning over Mount St. Mary’s, 4-3, on March 1. RU is undefeated all-time against FAMU, winning all three meetings between the two schools.
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